Iceland's Actavis goes up for bid

Icelandic generics giant Actavis looks like it's going on the block. One of the biggest makers of copycat drugs, Actavis is majority-owned by a private equity firm led by billionaire Thor Björgólfsson, who lost money big-time when Iceland's financial system collapsed last fall. At the time, analysts predicted that the firm, Novator, would have to sell off its Actavis stake.

Apparently, that's happening now, perhaps via an auction. Bidders are likely to include Big Pharma firms that have expressed interest in boosting their presence in generics, including GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. Copycat biggies such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries--already mentioned as a leading candidate to buy Ratiopharm, another generics maker on the block because of the global financial crisis--might set their sights on Actavis, too.

Meanwhile, Actavis says it's working with the FDA on some manufacturing problems that resulted in a nationwide recall of the heart treatment Digitek. The FDA locked down the company's New Jersey manufacturing plants after it found quality control problems during an inspection, and that lockdown continues, Pharmafocus reports. But Actavis says it hopes to request a re-inspection soon.

- read the Wall Street Journal Health Blog article
- check out the news at Pharmafocus